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Saying Goodbye To Kenny
It Was Love At First Sight
Shortly after I got married, my husband and I went to an animal adoption fair in the hopes of taking home a new feline. Between all the kittens, we spotted one large adult white/tabby mix, who was practically busting out of the small cage he was in. When I took a look at his face and saw on one side an ear that had been eaten up from past ear mites and an opposite side eye that was a thick cataract. I was in love. Before wasting any more time, I pointed to the white and orange ball of fur, and after a little paperwork and a microchip injection, Kenny was on his way home.
The first few months were rough. He walked with his tail between his legs, and spent most of his time hiding. Sometimes he would get stuck in a hiding spot that was particularly tight, and we would have to pull him out! Around the third month, I noticed that Kenny would sometimes curl up between Tony and I. Whenever I could, I would strongly encourage lots of cuddling and touch, so Kenny grew accustomed to sleeping with us, and he even started paying special attention to me when I was feeling down. He would barely have to hear me sniffle, and Kenny would be bleeding in my lap, looking in my eyes, As if to say "it's alright, mommy."
Kenny continued to flourish as the years passed. He would beg for wet cat food and tuna, as well as meat from our carne asada burritos. He was sensitive, and very gentle. He never raised his paws in anger at either Tony or myself, and he never bit us either. He became so social that he would greet people at the door. Everyone knew and loved Kenny, even our friends that were strict dog lovers.
Life Flies By
Kenny was 10 before I knew it. You see, I had adopted him when he was 6. Every day, I could count on recieving endless supplies of cuddles, purring, kneading, and kisses from my furbaby. I would get reports that Kenny would walk from roo' to room, "testing the acoustics", meowing soulfully and searching for his mom. Whenever I would return, Kenny would greet me with happy news and chirps. I could call for him, and he would jump right up to where I was, always eager to be close to me. I groomed him, kept his teeth clean, and fed him the best food I could ever afford. It was joked amongst many that he ate better than I did.
My first warning that something was starting to' go' for Kenny was when he was 14. I heard a meow come from under the bed that sounded more like a howl. When I called him, he still rushed to be in my arms. I started to watch him more closely, staying up a couple nights in a row with Kenny, just asking how he felt, and whether or not It was his' time' . It seemed like the changes happened overnight. Kenny was having trouble eating, even his favorite food of all time, tuna or beef. He lost weight and seemed to start to lose his sense of balance. When I witnessed him fall when trying to get up on the couch, I talked to him as sweetly as I could, and gently helped him into my lap for what would be one of the very last times. His eyes looked far away and in pain. I sang him some of our favorite folk songs, including "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel, and "Morning Has Broken " by Cat Stevens. It was Friday the 13, and although I had been consulting with my mother and aunt (also cat ladies like myself), and everyone was ready to help me bring him in to get put to sleep. Most everyone, as soon as they heard his advanced age, told me the same thing: that it may be time to consider euthanasia. I wanted to spend one more weekend with Kenny. Secretly, I kept praying and visualizing him making a sudden drastic improvement over the weekend. Then, I saw my furbaby collapse in the litter box, and he couldn't push himself up. That was all I needed to see. I called my mom and tried to steady my voice as I told her it was time. The pain from seeing Kenny so weak, and in so much pain, brought me to my knees. I wrapped Kenny in one of my favorite blankets, which was full of both of our scent. I offered him more tuna, but he was not interested. We looked into each other's eyes the whole way to the vet. It looked like we were already losing him. Within a matter of minutes, a compassionate team of vet techs got my Kenny expedited up to the next in line. I kept petting him for as long as I could, telling him through five pound tears that it would be OK, and that I loved him, and always would. One of the vet staff was kind enough to print me a custom copy of the Rainbow Bridge poem, complete with Kenny,me,and Tony.
That day, I began crafting Kennys shrine. I bring fresh flowers to it every day, and I still can feel how soft his coat was, and the sound of his purr.